Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Roy Eaton gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘The History of Bletchingley’.

Bletchingley has been significant for over 1000 years.  Richard Fitzgilbert, a cousin of William the Conqueror, was given the Manor of Bletchingley after the Norman Conquest, along with several other manors.  His de Clare family remained close to successive Norman kings.  Roger de Clare built Bletchingley Castle in the mid-12th Century.  The north and south deer parks were enclosed soon after.  Gilbert de Clare achieved borough status for Bletchingley.  It had a market and annual fair for 700 years.  Another Gilbert de Clare fought with Simon de Montfort at the 1264 Battle of Lewes but in the same year Bletchingley Castle was destroyed by Royalist forces.

Stones from the castle were used for extending St. Mary’s Church.  The de Clare line died out when the last de Clare was killed in 1314 at Bannockburn.  Their title passed to the de Staffords, who unfortunately boasted of their royal lineage.  The 2nd Duke of Buckingham was executed for treason in 1483, as was the 3rd Duke in 1521, but not before he built Bletchingley Palace.  In 1540 Anne of Cleves was given Bletchingley Palace as part of her divorce settlement and Elizabeth I passed it to the Howard family.  From 1295 to 1832 Bletchingley sent 2 MPs to Parliament and in the 18th and early 19th Centuries it was one of the rotten boroughs.

At the next meeting of the Oxted & District History Society at 8 pm on Tuesday, 6 March, at the United Reformed Church, Bluehouse Lane, Chris Bruce-Jones will give a lecture on ‘Four Centuries of Nonconformist Buildings’.                 


The History of Bletchingley a talk by Roy Eaton